compensation audits

The links between certified public accountants (CPAs) and HR professionals may not be immediately obvious, but when you look a little closer it should quickly become apparent that there are a number of key areas in which these two roles intersect.

To demonstrate just how symbiotic the relationship between CPAs and HR pros can be, here is a look at the contexts in which their paths may cross and the instances in which their collaboration with one another will be beneficial for the whole business.


Wrangling the recruitment process is something which many in HR have to handle regularly, although there are a number of obstacles involved, one of which is the financial aspect of hiring a new team member.

In many instances you may choose to outsource the actual talent scouting to a third party firm, for which fees equating to up to 25% of the successful candidate’s first year of salary may be payable. This may represent a significant budgetary commitment from your organization, in which case consulting an accountant to assess the viability of such a service will be necessary.

Of course CPAs themselves will have significant experience of both training and recruitment in their own right, from meeting the requirements involved in completing exams to working with recruitment agencies and being involved in interviews during which they are aiming to impress potential employers. This will give them valuable insights to share with HR, in addition to their input on the pure financial elements involved.


The challenge of attracting skilled team members in the first place is steep enough, but it also needs to be considered the prelude to the long term efforts that need to be made to retain members of staff that bring real value to the business as a whole.

There are many ways to increase job satisfaction and improve employee loyalty at every level of a firm, and HR pros may find that it falls to them to formulate and steward effective strategies to this end. Once again the involvement of CPAs will be beneficial.

Looking at the figures, the cost of replacing employees can vary wildly, although surprisingly consistent averages of around 20% of the team member’s salary have been uncovered. Researchers have noted that this is significantly higher for executive roles, although that is a different kettle of fish entirely.

In short, HR can work with accountants to accurately determine just how much it makes sense to spend on employee retention before the cost of doing so outweighs the likely savings to be made by minimizing churn.

Compensation Audits

Compensation audits are closely linked to employee productivity, satisfaction levels and retention rates, all of which are the concern of those in the HR department. However, the other factor which comes into play here is that the auditing process itself is fundamentally financial in nature and at the end of the day is a process which determines whether or not you can justify current compensation packages or planned increases from an economic perspective.

This is once again where the assistance of a CPA can be vital, since it is all about striking a balance between ensuring staff members feel valued while at the same time recognizing that comparisons with their colleagues’ remuneration are inevitable. Instilling a sense of fairness in your approach to compensation can be achieved from a point of deeper understanding after an audit, and experienced accountants will be in the best position to help HR pros navigate this potentially problematic experience more easily.

Trend Tracking

There are undeniably generational differences in terms of the things that employees expect from their employers, and it falls to the HR team to keep tabs on these trends so that they can stay ahead of the curve and cater to the needs of people who are just entering the workforce for the first time.

The more nebulous concepts, most of which relate to the culture of the company and its wider social impact, are well within the wheelhouse of most HR specialists, but it is the guidance of a CPA which can be used to track the trends associated with compensation, bonuses and other perks.

Ultimately the relationship between HR and expert accountants should be based on making a firm as competitive as possible, while also keeping it compassionate.

Image source: